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Archives for : Poetry

Gulzar’s date with the legendary lady of letters, Amrita Pritam

Remembering Amrita Pritam on her Death Anniversary

She asked me to recite a poem and I recited Dastak, which spoke of friends arriving from across the border coming to our home and mats being laid out in the courtyard and food being cooked, but alas it turns out to be just a dream.

Amrita Pritam (HT File)

Punjabi writer and poet Amrita Pritam was the first woman to win the National Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956. A recipient of the Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan and Jnanpith, she is remembered for poems such as Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu (Today I invoke Waris Shah) — which is an elegy to the 18th century Punjabi Sufi poet — and Pinjar (The Skeleton) , among many others. Her works have been translated in several Indian and foreign languages. Poet-filmmaker Gulzar pays a tribute to her on her 99th birthday and renews an old acquaintance with the Punjabi poet:

The first time I heard Amrita Pritam’s poem, Ajj Aakhan Waris Shah Nu, recited by none other than the actor-writer Balraj Sahni, was at a meeting of the Punjabi Sahit Sabha in Mumbai. As a young poet in the late 1950s and 1960s, I was acquainted for the first time with the Punjabi poetry of Amrita Pritam in Mumbai. I was a member of the Progressive Writers Association and also went to attend meetings of the Punjabi Sahit Sabha that had luminous writers such as Rajinder Singh Bedi, Balraj Sahni, Harnam Singh Naaz and Sukhbir.

It was a popular poem then as it is now and left a listener with goose pimples; more so for those who had migrated from Punjab to the new nation of Pakistan. Those were unhappy and unsettled times for the migrants, many of whom were unemployed.


My meeting with the legendary lady of letters came much later when Basu Bhattacharya was making a documentary on Amrita and her soulmate Imroz. I had known Inderjeet Imroz before he came to Mumbai and stayed with another artist, Pardooman, and together did some paintings and calligraphy for the Sohrab Modi film, Mirza Ghalib (1954). But it was the first time I came face-to-face with Amrita. Basu Da introduced me and she asked me, “What do you do?” I told her that I assisted in direction and also wrote some poetry.

She asked me to recite a poem and I recited Dastak, which spoke of friends arriving from across the border coming to our home and mats being laid out in the courtyard and food being cooked, but alas it turns out to be just a dream. She made me recite it again at lunchtime and after the pack-up she asked me to stay back with Basu Da. There were just Amrita, Basu Da, Imroz and I in the drawing room. The decor included paintings by Imroz in which he had painted the beauty of his lady love besides amazing lampshades that had calligraphy by Imroz of lines from Amrita’s poetry.

I was asked to recite the poem a third time and then she said, “The subject is so complex yet you have rendered it with immense ease!” Appreciative words coming from a person of her poetic stature were enough to make my day.

There grew a literary acquaintance with the acclaimed poet and she took interest in my writing and lyrics. She also published several of my poems in her magazine, Nagmani.

After some more years of struggle, I became a director and set up my one-room office in Mumbai. One day, Amrita and Imroz came to meet me there. I welcomed them and I gave her my chair as a respect to a senior poet, while Imroz and I sat across the table on chairs kept for visitors. She had a request that I make a film on her novel, Pinjar. She had a script and I told her to leave it with me and we would discuss it the next day.

I went through the script and read it along with the novel at night. Pinjar spoke about the Partition through protagonist Puro, who stands as an epitome of violence against women.

At the second meeting, I told her that I would like to make a film of just the first three chapters, which were about Puro’s story, but for that I would have to write a screenplay. Amrita insisted that the film was to be made just as she had scripted it. When I declined saying that this was not possible and suggested that she make the film herself the way she wanted it, I could see displeasure on her face when she left.

However, this episode did not in any way sour our acquaintance. Whenever I went to Delhi, I would go to meet her. She published a long interview with me and that became the prologue of my first book in Hindustani, Chand Pukhraj Ka.

The last visit to see her was with Gopi Chand Narang, then president of the Sahitya Akademi, to give her the Akademi’s prestigious fellowship award. Sadly, she was then just a piece of flesh. She recognised no one nor could she speak. Imroz said, “These awards should come when a person is well enough to appreciate them.” Narang replied that he wanted it to reach her in her lifetime.

A year later, I recited her poems for a music company in tribute and each word touched my heart”.

(Gulzar as told to Nirupama Dutt)

Hindutan times

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WhatsApp from Sardar Patel I am going to boycott the Program of 31 October 2018

By- Rohit Prajapati,

WhatsApp from Sardar Patel

I am upset, depressed

Looking at “Statue of Unity Project”

It is Symbol of ‘River Lynching’, ‘Violence and Violations’

It is De-Facto Statue of…

Miseries and exploitation of Narmada River, Downstream River and her Ecology, Ecological-Flow, Tribals, Downstream Villagers, Livelihood, Social and Environment Justice, Democracy, Ecology, Natural Resources, Valuable  Human Resources, Wildlife, Sanctuary, …

Long List.

I am going to Boycott

The Inaugural Program of “Statute of Unity Project” on 31 October 2018

I will be on hunger strike on 31 October 2018

I will register my protest on 31 October 2018

What about you?

Because It is a Symbol of





River Lynching,

Criminal Action,




State Repression,

Violence and Violations,

Wasteful Spending, ……………………….


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Vishnu Khare (1940–2018) Adieu, dear poet #RIP

As it happens, the news was conveyed by a terse ping on a Hindi literature group on WhatsApp. Newly appointed vice chairman of the Delhi Hindi Academy and noted Hindi poet Vishnu Khare was no more. He was 78.

I was to meet him for my Mumbai Mirror column at his Andheri home. He was looking forward to my visit and had said, “A good journalist must upset both sides. And literature should be fertilised with journalism — and journalists must read high theory so that they can upset their readers and trouble those who are in power.” The meeting did not happen.

A child of Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, and an MA in English literature, he translated TS Eliot’s poems into Hindi. “In May 1960, I translated the poem and wrote to Eliot’s publisher in England. They informed me that an Indian publisher from Orissa owned the copyright in all the Indian languages. So, I wrote to the Indian publisher who was delighted. Next I wrote a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru. I told him since you quoted Eliot in 1922, I think you must write the preface. His office replied that the PM was a bit busy with the monsoon session in Parliament but the letter has been passed on to Dinkar and Humayun Kabir,” he said. That’s how Ramdhari Singh Dinkar wrote a preface in Hindi for “a chit of a boy”.

As a 13-year-old, the wordsmith in him was chiselled by Maxim Gorky, Krishan Chander, Saadat Hasan Manto, Rajinder Bedi and Premchand. He said, “When I read these mind-makers, I knew what I had to write.”

Our last meeting was a year ago at a function to award Antarbharati’s Balshastri Jambhekar award to Balwant Jeurkar for translating Premchand’s biography Kalam Ke Sipahi into Marathi. Khare delivered a succinct, contrarian speech about the unreliability of Kalam Ke Sipahi as historical truth. It was brutal, and perhaps inappropriate, for an evening of celebration. But Khare did not care. “Sahityakaari ne sahitya ko maar daala hai,” he firmly believed.

During a programme I hosted along with Max Mueller Bhavan, he dissected Mumbai though the lens of literature. He said, “The Urdu writers came to Bombay to write for the films. And wrote the most brazen things about Bombay. Authors like Manto, Premchandra, Bedi, seem to be the pioneers who introduced Urdu to Bombay and Bombay to Urdu. It was through Urdu that Hindi had access to the city.”

Vishnu Khare gifted me three books in Hindi. One was Murdaghar by Jagdamba Prasad Dixit, penned in the 1970s. A brutal novel with 700 profane words. Then there were Manohar Shyam Joshi’s Kuru-Kuru Swaha and Hamzaad. He said, “Hamzaad is the darkest novel about Mumbai. It is completely bleak, has no ideals, no hope and no optimism. Joshi rips the facade of a modern city to shreds.”

During an evening to commemorate the contribution of Shani (the Muslim who wrote in Hindi, as Khare irreverently stated), Kedarnath, who passed away a few months ago, handed over the mike to Khare, joking that there are two things one must be aware of: pareshaani and Khare-shani. Khare grinned and was silent.


In that silence we heard the echo of: Kaho Toh Daro Ki Hai Yeh Kyon Keh Diya / Na Kaho Toh Daro Ki Poochenge Chupp Kyon Ho!

  कहो तो डरो…

कहो तो डरो कि हाय यह क्यों कह दिया
न कहो तो डरो कि पूछेंगे चुप क्यों हो

सुनो तो डरो कि अपना कान क्यों दिया
न सुनो तो डरो कि सुनना लाजिमी तो नहीं था

देखो तो डरो कि एक दिन तुम पर भी यह न हो
न देखो तो डरो कि गवाही में बयान क्या दोगे

सोचो तो डरो कि वह चेहरे पर न झलक आया हो
न सोचो तो डरो कि सोचने को कुछ दे न दें

पढ़ो तो डरो कि पीछे से झाँकने वाला कौन है
न पढ़ो तो डरो कि तलाशेंगे क्या पढ़ते हो

लिखो तो डरो कि उसके कई मतलब लग सकते हैं
न लिखो तो डरो कि नई इबारत सिखाई जाएगी

डरो तो डरो कि कहेंगे डर किस बात का है
न डरो तो डरो कि हुक़्म होगा कि डर




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‘Digital India’ De-facto ‘Deleted India’ #Poem


By- Rohit Prajapati

Slum Dwellers will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Street Vendors will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Small Shops will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Ordinary People will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Public Transport System will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Not Poverty, but Poor will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Natural Resources will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Ponds and Lakes will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Rivers and Ravines will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Employment will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Equality will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Environment will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Nature will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Love and compassion will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Gender Justice will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Communal Harmony will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Public Health Facilities will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Public Education Schools will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Right to Protest will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Voice of Dissent will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Freedom of Expression will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Rule of Law will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Democracy will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Real Life will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Dignified Life will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

Peace & Justice will be ‘Deleted’ in ‘Digital India’.

That is why I want to ‘Delete’  ‘Digital India’.

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Dalit rap artiste smashes Brahminical caste structure; weapons his Music

While the caste lynching increases in its toll, this Dalit rap artiste fights the caste prejudice and shuts the brahamanical caste structure through his art.

Sumeet’s upcoming video Ladai Seekh le

It’s been a long time in the market of slaves; you tell me I am free.

In the flock of humans, why are there high and lows;

In the flock of humans, why are there high and lows.

You have the answers, but you do nothing about it,

because you are the culprit.

Worth of my existence is told to me by your abuses.

Your midnight freedom Burns our slums and bastis;

Your midnight freedom burns our slums and bastis.

These lines are by Sumeet Samoos, a 24-year-old rap artiste from Koraput, Odisha who has lived and survived the caste discrimination in the country. Through his music, he tries to bring forward the voices of the masses which have always been unheard of in the caste-based society.  The form he chose for “emancipation from a Brahminical society” is ‘Hip Hop’, a form also associated with liberation of the Black community from racial discrimination in the Western world.

“Sumeet, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and a social activist does not hide the caste based targeting in the University spaces.Through his songs/poems, he challenges the casteism prevailing in the roots of all institutions in the nation.”

Despite numerous struggles which he had to face on account of being from the Dalit community, today, he is emerging as a leading voice and rap artiste in the nation. His first album, ‘Ladai Seekle’, is soon releasing where he reminds us the teachings of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Malcom X, Periyar and Savitri Bai Phule. His work emerges as a tool to directly connect with the younger generation as well as understand and act against the stigma and harassment associated in the public as well as private lives of varied communities and caste hierarchies. A new perspective is brought into action using the popular culture of rap music in contemporary times.

Hip Hop music or rhythmic speech originated in the black populated ghettos of United States of America and was disassociated from art and music of the mainstream white supremacist culture of the Western world. In the wake of technological advances, new mediums opened up roads for black music to come into acceptance and limelight. 1979 became the year when Hip Hop music was officially recorded, voicing the fights and efforts of the black community against racism. The struggle of the form itself and also works of black contemporary rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Tupac and Joyner Lucas inspire Samos to create art works which could lead to a transformative Indian society, free of caste oppression, based on equality and rejecting caste privileges.

Samos’ works stands out not merely because it voices the underprivileged, but also because unlike the popular rap culture of Bollywood and Punjabi rap, it is not based on sexism. In the popular rap catered to the majority population of the urban youth, the feminine body is presented as a mere sex object not only visually but also in lyrics. It would not be wrong to say that leading rap artistes of the Hindi Film Industry have degraded the form and feminine identity to sheer slander.

Popular Indian rap artistes are not the only ones responsible for degradation of form as they have followed the footsteps of white pop culture where the main focus remains to cater to the market. Unlike the liability of catering to market, the thought process behind Samos’ music remains distinct and unique. Samos tells Delhi Post, “There are three things that inspire me. First is the long history of anti-caste emancipators, their life stories and their vision for an egalitarian society. Second, is the powerful conviction, spirit and hope among the marginalised castes to fight against a deeply unequal system of caste and to live a life of dignity despite all sorts of violence in everyday lives. Third, is my own experience which has taught me to keep going. The songs or poems that I write are a combination of all these three aspects.”

“Earlier this year, Samos was invited to Paris for a performance preceded by discussion for the city-based show ‘Radio Live’ and also performed at Hyderabad Central University at a programme organised for the commemoration of Rohith Vemula, PhD Dalit scholar whose suicide caused a major tremor in the academic world.”

Multiple videos of Samos have gone viral receiving great acceptance and acclaim on social media sites, making him the leading face of Dalit youth.

In his latest viral music video called ‘Hard Truth’, he critics the Dalit discourse propagated by upper caste scholars, restricting permeability for Dalit voices who undergo caste supremacy even in urban progressive spaces. The video is titled ‘Hard Truth’ as it aims directly to the so-called Dalit sympathizers who exploit stories and narratives of the unprivileged sections of society. This attitude of the upper caste makes Samos believe in the existing power structure of the society held in the tight grips of Brahmanism.

Politically the artiste is associated with Birsa Ambedkar Phule Student Association (BAPSA) at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The organisation works for the interest of the Dalit-Bhahujan community in the campus. The organisation struggled against the removal of 100 per cent weightage to Viva voce against the University Grants Commission’s gazette legally as well as by constant protest demonstrations.

According to BAPSA, 100 percent weightage in Viva, restricted the students from the backward backgrounds to seek admissions due to their unpolished speaking skills, which is often the demand by elite professors. In multiple programmes conducted by BAPSA, Sumeet has stood with the organisation, giving immense credit to BAPSA and the people associated with it. According to Samos, “BAPSA has been crucial for me as it has exposed me to diversities, within oppressed communities as well as helped me shape my political articulation. Most importantly it has provided a community of students who have helped in different ways.”

In the coming future, Samos aims to pursue his post doctorate in creative writing where he can further enhance his skills and knowledge. He is a hero for many, and continues to encourage people from the Dalit community to keep up the battle initiated by Mahatma Phule and Baba Saheb Ambedkar. His aim is not merely to connect with the Dalit masses, but also to make the Brahaminical Society accept the ‘Hard truth’.

Source- Delhi Post

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India- Have your heard of our very own Bob Dylan – Gaddar ?

But the revolutionary poet-singer from Telangana is iconic in his radical creativity and pursuit of social justice.

  • But a bird that stalks
  • Down his narrow cage
  • Can seldom see through
  • his bars of rage
  • his wings are clipped and
  • his feet are tiedso he opens
  • his throat to sing.

— Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” from Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?

Maya Angelou’s poetic quest, Why don’t you sing, or, why the caged bird sings resonates well in the present socio-political context in India. The quest especially draws our attention as the Emergency anniversary forms a backdrop to times when the state, more than ever, is trying to silence dissident voices.

The enduring harassment of the artists of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) in Maharashtra, the arrest of folk singer Kovan in Tamil Nadu and the story of Jiten Marandi in Jharkhand, whose trial inspired the making of the award-winning movie, Court, are just a few examples of such harassment.

court690_062818044601.jpgArtist in the dock: A still from Court

Recently, the Maharashtra police registered an FIR against the members of the KKM for all the most bizarre reasons — these include ‘provocative speeches’, ‘promoting enmity’ between two communities and having links with ‘Urban Naxals’.

But the most fundamental reason the authorities do not state is this — ‘Why do they sing?’

kab690_062818044428.jpgMembers of the Kabir Kala Manch continue to be harassed

Singing becomes an act of rebellion. In the eyes of the state, it is a language of provocation. The song as an inciting form of speech is a new entry into the nationalist project of Indian keywords. Singing as an act of rebellion is the larger background against which a particular singer began to be recognised as representing rebellion — Gaddar (a misspelling of the Urdu word ‘Ghadar’ or ‘Gadar’).

Every region in India has its own story of the caged bird. But one artist who can be considered unparalleled and a trendsetter in the art and act of rebellion is Gaddar from Telangana. He embodies the mother of all caged birds.

gadar690_062818045059.jpgThe voice of rebellion

Nearing his 70s now, the revolutionary balladeer discarded his real name — Gummadi Vittal Rao — and become the metaphor of the rebellion. Gaddar has seen life inside out. From the experience of untouchability, to being a daily wage labourer, living an underground life in forests, to being a caged bird in an Indian jail to a near-fatal escape with a bullet in his body, Gaddar has closely witnessed both life and death.

He has become a living legend in the Telugu-speaking region in India. The name ‘Gaddar’ stands for the Urdu word Ghadar — the rebellion — the spirit, for instance, of the Gaddar movement founded by Punjabi immigrants in the United States and Canada to overthrow British rule in India in 1913. Gummadi Vittal Rao, in the process of claiming that spirit of the past, has become the spirit in the present.

Born in 1948, a year after Independence, the cultural radical has been struggling since to find the meaning of that independence for the downtrodden in India. His songs and satires are full of observations and ironies.

‘Friend, I was born in a free India – in 70 years of my life, after seeing the situation of Dalits in India, I could not understand the meaning of that freedom.’

As an individual, Gaddar carries a larger-than-life persona. He tries to distance himself with that figure in his formal conversations. To my surprise, when we met, he rarely used Gaddar as a first person in conversation.

Not even with a slip of the tongue did he utter, I did this or I didn’t do this. He would rather say, ‘You need to understand why people listened to Gaddar and joined the revolutionary movement.’

In a strange paradox, Gaddar de-familiarised Gaddar.

I felt Gaddar would not write his autobiography — but a biography is equally flabby for him. Writing a biography of the rebel would be breaking the language and genre of biography itself. After all, he is an iconoclast who incessantly broke the structure of language. An anecdote goes that he influenced the great Telugu poet Sri-Sri to come out of his linguistic ghetto and write in the people’s language.

It is difficult to make out when he is recounting his own experiences and when he is creating an epic out of one particular experience. The essence of the poet is that he cannot be captured. He does not fit into a specific genre. He does not fit into a one-to-one question-answer session.

Thus, when he speaks, let him speak. When he listens, let him be a listener.

‘Now you forget that you are from JNU, you are a professor, researcher, this and that. Now you listen about Gaddar,’ he says.

And I do.

When he is happy, he sings; when he suffers from anxiety, he sings. He sings in pain and suffering. When he gets angry, he sings, he sings when things fall apart. He sings as a keeper of memory, he sings as an advocate of justice, he leaps and sings as a free bird out of the cage.

Whenever he feels silenced, he breaks into song.

He becomes self while singing, he embodies others while singing. He becomes the mother of revolutionaries when he sings. He sings as Gaddaranna for the Telugu masses. He craves equality and justice through his songs. He sings about the birth of revolution, he sings about the death of revolutionaries. His song is life and death. Gaddar is made of the song.

When he survived a near-fatal attack in 1997, he keeps singing — with a bullet in his body.

Every time he sings, he proves that Gaddar — the Rebellion — is made of rhythms.

Gaddar in the film Maa Bhoomi, written and produced by B Narasing Rao of the Art Lovers Association (ALA), Hyderabad

Gaddar’s famous song on Telangana

He could have become a figure like Federico Garcia Lorca if he was born outside caste-based Indian society. Karthik Venkatesh rightly remarked that Gaddar is the [Bob] Dylan we don’t talk about. He is the cultural phenomenon we don’t recognise. Google ‘popular banned artists around the world’ — despite his story, you will not find his name there. (One finds Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan and others whose performances were at times banned). From Walid Raad of Lebanon to the Beatles of Britain and MF Hussain from India, we all love our banned artists. But being a radical, Gaddar does not figure into the debates of censorship. As a matter of fact, he faced a ban and censorship rarely faced by any other singer-performer in India.

bob690_062818045551.jpgGaddar is the [Bob] Dylan we don’t talk about

amy690_062818045741.jpgAmy Winehouse’s performance was banned several times

hussain690_062818045921.jpgMF Hussain was punished merely for being an artist

Still, he does not care whether you write about him or not. He has faith that people will remember him. One day, he gets angry with me and says, ‘Who cares if you don’t write. Pandits did not write about Kabir — did they stop Kabir from flowering in peoples’ minds? Upper castes tried hard to hide the compositions of Saint Tukaram — did they succeed?’

kab690_062818050215.jpgNo one could stop Kabir from flowering in peoples’ minds.

He is in his late 60s — but the passion of the late 60s is not over yet.

He joined the cultural movement when he was in his late 20s. It was just after the Naxalite movement in India. He came in contact with a small group called Art Lovers Association (ALA) in the suburbs of Hyderabad.

The group comprised filmmakers, theatre and cultural activists. The group came in contact with members of Virasam (acronym for the Revolutionary Writers’ Association). The group changed its name from ALA to Jana Natya Mandali.

It was the start of a new dawn that transformed Gummadi into Gaddar.

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कश्मीरः कुछ सवाल #Poem

महेन्द्र सिहं पूनिया

क्या चिनार के पेड़ पर
एक भी पत्ता नहीं है
आबरुरेज़ा दोशीज़ा का तन ढकने को ?
क्यों  झुक गया है पोपलर का
आकाश में तना हुआ शीश ?
क्यों रो रहे हैं विलो
झेलम के किनारे सिर झुकाए हुए ?

क्यों सारी की सारी कांगड़ियाँ
ठण्डी हो गई हैं
और शीतल घाटियाँ आग उगल रही हैं ?
क्यों सारे के सारे मर्ग
बन्द से नज़र आते हैं
और क्यों खुल गए हैं
कलाशिंकोवों के मुँह ?

मैं पूछता हूँ क्यों आग लगी थी
शांति और भाईचारे के प्रतीक चरार में ?
क्या यही था संदेश
वली नुरुद्दीन नूरानी का ?

रात के अँधेरे में,निवड़ एकान्त में
मुझे लगता है कि वादी में
हब्बा खातून विलाप कर रही है
और लल्ल दद्दू की चीखें
मेरे सीने को चीर रही हैं।

क्यों बार-बार बूटों तले
रौंदी जाती हैं दोशीजाएँ मेरे गाँव की
और क्यों होती है उनकी आबरू रेज़ा-रेज़ा
कभी इस तो कभी उस वहशी के हाथों ?

क्यों बार-बार जलता है घर मेरा
और क्यों लापता हो रहे हैं जवान मेरे गाँव के
क्यों सारे के सारे शिकारे सुनसान पड़े हैं
और क्यों अमरनाथ के सारे रास्ते पर
मशीनगनें तैनात हैं।

ऐसा कभी तो न था मेरा कश्मीर
इस कदर बिगड़ी हुई तो न थी ये तस्वीर ?

मैं पूछता हूँ किसने आग लगाई है
अमन के इस चमन में
भाईचारे के वतन में
और हमारे तन-बदन में ?
क्यों चुप हैं
हमारे खैरख़्वाह होने का दावा करने वाले
और क्यों ख़ामोश हैं
कश्मीर को अपना कहने का
दम भरने वाले ?

मैं पूछता हूँ इनकी चिन्ताओं में
कश्मीर तो है,पर कहाँ कश्मीरी अवाम है ?
क्या कश्मीर सिर्फ
ज़मीन के टुकड़े का नाम है ?

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India – Anti-caste poet Lokshahir Shantanu Kamble passes away in Nashik at the age of 39 #RIP

By Daisy Katta,

In a terrible jolt to the Ambedkarite movement in Maharashtra, Shahir Shantanu Kamble, a 39-year-old poet on whose life the movie ‘Court’ was based, died in Nashik. Shahir Shantanu Kamble belonged to the fierce tradition or Vidrohi Shahiri (Resistance poetry performance) in Maharashtra’s anti-caste movement. Kamble, who originally belonged to Atpadi Taluka in Sangli, was a son of a labourer Napha Kamble and came to Mumbai in early 2000 to work in an NGO. He spent many years staying at the Barkat Ali Chawl in Wadala area of Mumbai.

Kamble is survived by his wife Deepali. According to people close to the family, Kamble had been ill for some time and died of a stomach ailment.

Growing up in Atpadi, Shantanu Kamble witnessed oppression of castes first hand. He grew up in a culture which was enriched by various forms of art and performances like lok geet and jalsas related to the anti-caste movement.

Speaking about Shantanu Kamble, actor and activist Vira Sathidar recalls, “It was when he came to Mumbai that his poetry was sharpened ideologically. I remember that whenever he would preside over any meeting in Mumbai, he would first start by telling the people about the history of poetry and music, why and how it was created and how it came into being, and what is the connection between poetry and the shramik (Labourers)”.

“where firsts raise against injustice
where small birds fight against eagles
from this battleground, you come muffled in blood-sandal
you come, you come, you come
breaking shackles, you come….”

( Shantanu Kamble performing Samtechya Vatene)

Kamble’s poetry and songs not only encompassed the realities of caste oppression, exploitation and inequality but also that of humanity and human relations. He penned one of his most popular songs Dalitare halla bol na…Shramika re halla bol na (Dalits raise your voice..labourers raise your voice!) after the gruesome Khairlanji Caste Atrocity which took place in 2006 in Maharashtra. He was one of the founding members of the Kabir Kala Manch but left it soon after its inception to work with Republic Panthers.

( Shantanu Kamble performing Dalita re halla bol na)

In 2005, he was accused by the Nagpur police of having Naxalite connections, however, he was later acquitted after spending around 100 days in jail. The 2014 National award-winning Marathi movie “Court” was based on his life where is friend Vira Sathidar played the lead character of Narayan Kamble.

Sahiri has been a long tradition of rebellious songs in Maharashtra’s anti-caste movement. The tradition of Shahiri was popularised by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule in 1873 in his Satyashodhaks Jalsas to bring people together and to protests against the upper castes oppression the medium of songs and theatre. These traditions were taken forward during the beginning of anti-caste movement in the 1920s with the rise of Babasaheb Ambedkar. This era saw a resurgence of Shahiri in form of Ambedkari Jalsas which took the message of anti-caste oppression and liberation to the masses. Unlike the upper caste poetry and performances practised by Brahmins, Shahiri was a form of a mass folk art of songs and performance which was in the language of the masses.

The tradition of Shahiri was taken forward by a host of people like Shahir Bhimrao Kardak, Wamandada Kardak, Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe, Lokshahir Vithhal Umap, Shahir Vilas Ghogare and Shahir Sambhaji Bhagat to name a few. Songs like Jaltoy Marathwada (Marathwada is burning) by Sahir Vilas Ghogare become the song of the Namantar Movement in Maharashtra.

Throughout his short life but fruitful life, Shantanu Kamble was part of many organisations like BHARIP of which he was the head of Nashik Division. But he spent a majority of his time dedicated to Republican Panthers, a cultural revolutionary organisation which came into existence after the 1997 Ramabai Nagar Atrocity in Mumbai.

Vira Sathidar met his old friend Shantanu Kamble in May. Recalling the incident, Sathidar told “When I asked him ‘What has happened to you’ Shantanu Kamble replied, ‘This is all a part of a journey to become Ghalib’.”

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Let us have ‘Open Auction’ To ‘Buy’ and ‘Sell’ ‘MLAs and MPs’

-Rohit Prajapati

Let us have a Market-ocracy

Where after All Election Results

An Open Auction

For 24 hours

To Buy and Sell MLAs and MPs

In a Transparent Bid

Just the Way it’s done in IPL Cricket

Auctions every Six Months or in a Year


Re-elect or form New Government.

Its democracy in Free Market Economy

Profits only Matter, not the rule book.

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Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA says child marriage will put an end to elopement, ‘love jihad’ #WTFnews

Linking late marriages to “love jihad” — a term used by Hindutva forces for marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men — the BJP leader said girls are “emotional” and that they “get carried away” when someone offers to help them by changing name and identity.

BJP MLA Gopal Parmar (Source: ANI/twitter)

Holding late marriages responsible for elopement and “love jihad”, a BJP legislator from Madhya Pradesh on Saturday said that he supports early marriages because child marriages, including those involving grooms and brides who never saw each other before, used to last “forever”, unlike divorces that are commonplace today. “Earlier girls and boys used to marry before they turned 18 and 21. Marriages were fixed when they used to be of tender age, and did not go astray…or (they did not) think of anyone else. Now they meet at coaching classes and some fall prey to vices like ‘love jihad’,’’ BJP MLA from Agar, Gopal Parmar, told The Sunday Express while defending the comments he made at a government function in Agar town.

Linking late marriages to “love jihad” — a term used by Hindutva forces for marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men — the BJP leader said girls are “emotional” and that they “get carried away” when someone offers to help them by changing name and identity. “I married as a child, and I ensured that marriages of my children — two daughters and a son — were fixed before they attained the legal age of marriage,” Parmar, 53, said. “They are all happy.”

Stating that no one had heard of divorces when child marriages were practised, Parmar said, “The groom and bride used to be unfamiliar with each other, but marriages would work because parents used to apply their mind and fix marriages between compatible children.” Drawing a parallel between tethered cattle and children, he said, “Once the marriage is fixed, they know where to return.’’ Parmar said he would not make a recommendation in writing to the government to lower the legal age of marriage but expects parents to fix marriage of their children much before so that they do not go astray.

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